by Chris Leadbeater, The Telegraph, August 7, 2019
From a Croatian cruise to a festival hosted by Blur’s bass player, Chris Leadbeater serves up an intriguing tasting menu
1. Pun in the sun
You can always expect sharp wordplay from the Swedes. This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival so step forward Foodstock – see what they did there?; foodstock.se – a weekend (Aug 31-Sept 1) of Scandi-fare due to be held on Fjaderholmarna near central Stockholm. Tickets (one day K500 krona/£43; two days K750/£64) include boat travel to Saltsjon bay. Three nights at the five-star Hotel Nobis start at £829pp with flights through Kirker Holidays (kirkerholidays.com).
2. Meat & Greet
Few things say “summer in Britain” quite like the smell of cheap meat cooking inconsistently on a barbecue – the outer flanks of those burgers blazed to soot; their cores as cold as Himalayan ice and as pink as candyfloss; the risk of food poisoning floating on the edge of the conversation. We can do better than this. Certainly in the next three months, when holidays with a gourmet edge – either here or abroad – are easily arranged and the calendar is full of tasty events.
Like, for example, Meatopia, a three-day mix of grub and music that will occupy London’s Tobacco Dock at the end of the month (Aug 30-Sept 1; meatopia.co.uk; from £22). Now that’s how you make a burger.
3. Beaches & Cream
The Caribbean is too hot a destination for anything involving a show-kitchen, surely? Not so. Mount Cinnamon (mountcinnamongrenadahotel.com) – a five-star resort in Grenada – has a Culinary Adventure Week slated for Sept 21-28. Led by chef Will Torrent, it will dip into local ingredients. Seven nights start at £999pp, based on two sharing; flights cost extra.
4. Let's split
If you can keep your stomach from rumbling for another month and a half, you can book a place on the eight-day Gastronomic Gulet Cruise that Peter Sommer (petersommer.com) has scheduled for Croatian waters from September 28. Guests set off from Split, bound south-east for Dubrovnik, via Brac, Hvar, Korcula – and a lot of cheese, ham and wine. From £3,395pp; flights extra.
5. Feaster holiday
Now into its eighth year, The Big Feastival (thebigfeastival.com) – the gastro-musical bonanza held at Blur bassist Alex James’s farm near Kingham in Oxfordshire – will return for August 23-25. Jade Bird will play live; Elizabeth Haigh and Tom Brown will cook. Tickets are still available. Three-day camping passes (with festival entry) £185; day tickets from £67.
6. Good taste
Another regular in the chorus line of delicious British summer fandangos, the Abergavenny Food Festival (abergavennyfoodfestival.com), in the Monmouthshire countryside, will turn 20 on the weekend of September 21-22. Expect speaking appearances from chefs Asma Khan, Rosie Sykes and José Pizarro, as well as tasting workshops on edibles ranging from shellfish to the “offally parts” of pigs. Day passes from £8; weekend wristbands £15.
7. Falmouth tirade
Cornwall will take its yearly place at the table from October 10 to 13 when the Falmouth Oyster Festival (falmouthoysterfestival.co.uk) goes bivalve-mollusc-mad. And while the focus will be on the inside of the shell, there will also be music and boat races. The Greenbank Hotel (greenbank-hotel.co.uk) offers double rooms from £97.
8. Walk it off
One of the issues with food-focused getaways is that you may demand a little more of your bathroom scales once you arrive home. No such worries exist, however, with the Provence Prestige a Pied break offered by Belle France (bellefrance.com). This seven-night self-guided trip spends its evenings eating gourmet dinners – but, crucially, its days walking to and through the likes of St-Rémy and Avignon. The holiday costs from £2,680pp, including rail travel.
9. Cheese please
You can’t set foot in Italy without falling over a gastro-something. In the case of Bergamo and Oct 17-20, it’s the clotted-milk frenzy of the Forme festival (progettoforme.eu) – including the World Cheese Awards. A three-night stay over these dates at the Mercure Palazzo Dolci, flying from Gatwick, costs £264pp through Travel Bag (travelbag.co.uk).
10. Soy story
Actually, not just soy sauce and sushi, but the best ramen dishes in Tokyo, street food in Osaka’s Dotonbori district, oysters on Miyajima and sake-tasting sessions in Kyoto are all part of the 12-day Culinary Tour of Japan offered by Cox & Kings (coxandkings.co.uk). Prices from £4,595 per person, including international flights and shinkansen rail travel.
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